The iPhone Foe

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-- Peopleware

The independent U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings journal has long been one of the best at asking questions some of its readers might prefer not be asked. In its just-released July issue, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Harper grapples with the Navy’s biggest bogeyman: China. Military relations are fundamentally altered, he argues, when the prospective foe is making 90 iPhones a minute for the U.S. and world markets, and American Walmarts are crammed with its goods:

…fear of China’s perceived martial intentions is both overblown and unproductive for the United States and its military. Focusing solely on Chinese military capabilities clouds the critical challenge of preventing a catastrophic Sino-American conflict. Furthermore, this distraction obscures the real work of guiding China’s rise as an open, self-confident, fully integrated member of the world community…Providing specific recommendations for this delicate and long-term task is beyond the scope of this article, but as a minimum, the U.S. military needs to ensure it does not stand as an impediment to this crucial task.

Here’s hoping the admirals’ subscriptions are up-to-date.

(Of course, Proceedings doesn’t march in lockstep. The next article in the July issue carries a headline warning of the requirement to “prepare for a possible military conflict with China…”)